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What is flood cover?

Flood cover provides cover for losses to your property or contents caused by flooding and rainwater run-off. This type of cover isn’t always included under a home and contents insurance policy, but can usually be added as an optional extra. However, some properties in certain areas may be deemed uninsurable due to the high risk of flooding.

When comparing home and contents insurance with Compare the Market’s free comparison service, you’ll be able to see which policies include flood insurance when comparing results.

Why do I need cover for a flood?

Floods can cause a large amount of damage – they can sweep away your home and possessions, leaving you with the cost of completely rebuilding or replacing them. Even a small flood can cause serious damage to a building, meaning repairs to parts of the house or replacing some of your home’s contents may still be necessary.

If you live in a suburb that has suffered from flooding in the past, you need to ensure you have flood cover as a part of your home and contents policy. It’s better to be safe than sorry and have a financial ‘umbrella’ over your house and possessions.

How do I know if I live in a flood zone?

Before you purchase a home and contents policy, you need to find out whether your property is located in a flood risk zone. You can do so by contacting your local council for flood maps of your area.

According to the Insurance Council of Australia, 15% of properties in Australia present some level of flood risk, but only two to three per cent of homes have a high risk.1

man checking flood insurance coverage over phone

How can I find out whether I’m covered for a flood?

Many insurers include flood cover as a compulsory part of a home and contents policy. However, a number of insurers might offer this as optional cover. Remember that flood risk can be reflected in the cost of your home and contents premium. For example, if you own a home in a flood-prone area, you will typically pay a higher premium than homeowners outside of your area.

To find out if you’re covered for a flood, check out your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to see if flood damage cover is listed as an inclusion or benefit. A home and contents policy typically lists events it doesn’t cover as exclusions.

Frequently asked questions

How is a flood defined?

The definition of a “flood” in Australia is “the covering of dry areas by water escaping from a natural watercourse such as a lake, river or creek, or an artificial body of water like a reservoir, canal or dam.”

Although major floods don’t tend to happen every year, they can destroy homes, businesses and entire communities, leaving behind expensive repair bills for the damage and destruction caused.

Flood cover can be offered with home and contents insurance, but it’s not always a standard inclusion.

Should I get flood cover?

A few centimetres of water can wreak havoc to your home and everything inside it.

So, if you’re a homeowner or landlord, flood cover can be crucial. It could protect you financially against minor and extensive flood damage to your property and possessions. Some types of flood cover may even cover the cost of temporary accommodation (up to a limited time) if your home became inhabitable due to flooding.

If you’re considering buying a home and contents insurance policy, or are reviewing your existing level of cover, you should ask your insurance provider the following questions:

  • Do I live in a flood plain, or could my house conceivably be susceptible to a flood event?
  • Does my existing policy cover floods unconditionally (i.e. are there any exclusions or restrictions to be mindful of)?
  • If my policy doesn’t include flood cover, could I add it to my insurance, and how much would it cost?

Compare home and contents insurance with Compare the Market’s free home and contents comparison service to find a policy that includes flood cover.

What does flood cover include?

Put simply, flood cover can cover homes for damage and loss caused by flood events. Your exact level of coverage will depend on your insurer and home and contents insurance policy. The inclusions and exclusions included in the table below are based on an analysis of different Product Disclosure Statements (PDS) from insurers on our panel.

Type of insuranceWhat’s covered What’s not covered?
Home insuranceLoss or damage to your building (home) and contents resulting from:

  • floods (water that escapes from its natural confinements);
  • rainwater run-off.
Loss or damage caused by actions of the sea (i.e. tsunami, high tides, rise in sea levels etc.)
Home and contents insuranceLoss or damage to your home and contents caused by:

  • landslides;
  • mudslides;
  • subsidence;
  • soil movements;

(if caused directly by or happened immediately after floods).

Loss or damage cause by:

  • water that entered your home because of renovations
  • underground water seepage or pressure
  • hydrostatic pressure
  • soil movements which didn’t occur immediately after a flood or rainwater run-off

Loss or damage to:

  • retaining walls
  • fences and gates that are not structurally sound
  • garden, driveways, paths, pavers
  • swimming pools or spas
  • jetties and pontoons

Compare different home and contents policy options with flood cover with Compare the Market’s free comparison tool to find an appropriate policy.

Does my property require flood cover?

Flood cover is not compulsory in Australia. However, having flood cover as a financial ‘umbrella’ for your home and contents is recommended, especially if you live in a flood-prone area.

That being said, no property is ever completely safe from flooding. Floods can happen in unexpected locations and rather quickly, sometimes even within hours of heavy rainfall, a dam or levee failure, or river breaking its banks.

That’s why investing in a home and contents policy that could cover losses to your property and assets caused by an unexpected event like flooding is a safe bet. You can compare policies and prices with Compare the Market’s free home and contents insurance comparison service.

How much is flood cover?

Your premiums for flood cover will vary between insurers and home and contents policies and will be largely determined by:

  • the risk of flooding/water damage at your property;
  • the expected depth of flooding relative to your building;
  • the value of your home and assets and expected cost of repairs/recovery;
  • your sum insured, excess amount and level of cover.2

You can find out how much you might pay for flood cover by comparing prices with Compare the Market’s free home and contents comparison tool.

It’s worth noting that flood cover premiums are relative to the flood risk at a property. This means that if you live in an area with a high likelihood of flooding and where recovery costs are likely to also be higher, the higher the premiums you’ll pay.

Can renters/tenants get flood cover?

If you’re renting someone else’s property, you could get flood cover as part of your contents insurance (sometimes called renters insurance), which can protect you from losses or damage to your belongings and assets.

Whether you’re a renter, landlord or owner-occupier, you can compare home and contents insurance for free with Compare the Market.

Sources

1,2 Insurance Council of Australia- Local Government and Insurance (2015).

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